Is Freedom in Egypt Less Important Than One in Belarus? President Obama, Are You a Hypocrite?

Yuri Mamchur

These are not rhetorical questions. Obama and Clinton were quick to endorse the change in Tunisia, and American government is always on the side of the "people" if they demand democracy. However, the value of freedom actively drops when the position of an American-friendly tyrant is in question. Had Lukashenko ruled Belarus for 30 years straight with an iron fist and millions of Belarusians demanded his resignation for a week - Obama and Clinton surely would have issued a statement demanding his soonest departure on the first day of the protests.

However, when the time came to establish a truly free nation in Egypt, the White House was slow to respond. Clinton made contradicting statements, State Department and the White House sent mixed signals, and--a week later--Obama vaguely said "status quo is not sustainable and a change must take place." Whatever that means, that's not what Egyptian people want (or even understand; Mr. Obama, you're talking to Egyptian people, not Washingtonian think-tank scholars). "Whoever gave him that advice gave him absolutely the wrong advice," commented opposition leader ElBaradei on Obama's remarks. Wow! Mister President, your advisors miscalculated. And this one isn't as funny as your gift of the DVD set with American "region" settings to the British Queen. The results are all the same: the Queen cannot watch the movies at London, and Egyptians cannot use your advice in Cairo.

Police tortures under Hussein in Iraq somehow were more dramatic and worthy of America's criticism than exactly same actions under Mubarak. In fact, even though Belarus' Lukashenko was elected in fair elections (as noted by multiple international observers), Obama's White House practically embargoed the country. Its president and highest government officials are not allowed to travel to the States, and the State Department demands "freedom" for Belarusian people. The reality is that--according to my personal accounts with Belarusians and people who recently visited Belarus--the country is the cleanest, safest, and most independently prosperous (if you wish) nation of the former Soviet Union. Lukashenko says "no" to Putin, to Obama, and does what his people want. But him saying "no" does not qualify him as a U.S. ally, and thus voids the democratic process behind his presidency.

Dear White House people, if you're reading this - pass this one to your boss. Bad formual is this: Lukashenko = tyrant, Nazarbaev = great democratic leader; Hussein = terrorist and criminal, Mubarak = friend and ally. Consistency is the virtue, and the one that needs to be most preserved. Otherwise, the war for freedom in the Middle East, the words of the Founding Fathers, and the Freedom itself become a mockery. That's a dangerous slippery slope. You're on it. Beware!


Partners: Social Network